Whilst wandering around a local model show, out off the corner of my eye I spotted a tree, so ambling over it was apparent that this was one of the most realistic trees I had seen. Now at the Telford model show I had seen some great looking trees that were built to order and cost, err lots, so expecting more of the same price from this vendor, I wasn't expecting much, and boy was I wrong. Prebuilt sea moss trees cost £2.00 per vertical inch, preshaped wire armatures, which require a coat of Treemendus Treesy Peesy bark, start at £5.00 per vertical inch, or you can buy the "Complete Tree Kit" with full instructions for £20. So remembering a thread on Armorama about the best trees to buy I promptly bought the "Complete Tree Kit" for a review. Now I'm not going to add to this review that you could use this commercially bought product instead of the named product, because then that defeats the point of reviewing whats in the bag.
In the Bag
The kit comes in a sealed bag and contains
100 x 11" lengths of wire
1 X bag of Treemendus Treesy Peesy bark
1 X platt of canopy
1 X bag of canopy scatter
1 X 100ml of Scenefix glue
A free atomiser
A set of instructions
Building the tree
The instructions state that there are enough materials to make one 11 to12 inch tree or if you cut the wire down more smaller trees. The principles are the same for any size tree you build.
First off you get the amount of wire you need, in my case I used about a third of the wire, and you tap one end on a hard surface so it gives you one flat end. If you want to model the tree with roots you bend about an inch at the bottom upwards, split them into a few separate parts then twist them together to create the root structure.
Take one strand of the wire and coil it around the wire trunk until you get to the place you want the first branch to start. This coiled wire is what holds the tree together so make sure its pretty tightly wrapped. The wire is very easy to bend.
To create the first branch take a few of the strands of wire and bend them to a desired angle to the trunk. Take the coiled wire that is around the trunk and wrap that around the branch. To create side branches keep splitting the wires at various intervals until you reach the end. Keep splitting the wires from the trunk to create more branches and side branches, and in no time you have a wire tree. This process took me about 15 minutes to complete.
Next up is adding the bark, for this you use the Treemendus Treesy Peesy bark bag. Put some of the powder in a bowl (I used about a third of the bag) and mix in the Scenefix glue a little at a time until you get a thick paste. The glue looks like a very thin white glue, and is pretty sticky. You can wrap masking tape around the wire trunk to beef it up and hide the wire coils, but this isn't required. You then paint the paste on the bark, I found just slapping it on any old way works just fine lol. You do not have to got to get this smooth as a rough texture on the trunk and branches add to the effect. Once all the wires are covered leave to dry for 24 hours, after this time the bark has dried and gives you a very nice bark effect, and is pretty durable. Now I found this part to be very easy to do, but messy, as slapping it on bits of the paste fall off, so its best to do this part over some paper, and not on the cutting pad, like I did lol. Hot water and a wire brush removes the dried bark from the cutting pad, so cleaning up is easy.
Painting the bark isn't necessary but watercolour paints can be used. I coated the tree in burnt umber paint then painted on Tamiya XF-5 fall green for some moss on the trunk. A very thin wash of Payne's black was added to the nooks and crannies of the tree to give a little depth.
Once the paint was dry, I then started on the canopy. This is where you use the canopy platt, which resembles a hair net, or as my beloved commented, "its a Merkin ( a pubic hair wig apparently)", which resulted in the kids giggling for half an hour. I have no idea if it is the for-mentioned wig as I have never seen one lol. Anyway you tear some of the platt off and pull it apart until it becomes a light and airy foliage pad. Spray with hairspray (not included in the kit, but you can always swipe some off the female members of the household lol) and then whilst it is still wet sprinkle the canopy scatter over it. Do this part over some paper as some won't adhere to the canopy foliage pad, but it can be used again. Turn the foliage pad over and repeat covering with scatter. Place the canopy foliage pad onto the branches and keep repeating making the canopy until the whole tree is covered. Attach the atomizer to the glue bottle and lightly spray the canopy using a fine mist. The tree will turn white, but once dry it becomes a clear matte finish with the scatter pretty much stuck in place. Leave to dry for 24 hours. Once dry the canopy can be teased to refine the shape. Any hairs not covered with scatter can be trimmed with scissors. That's it, you now have a tree.
Treemendus Models have in my opinion taken the art of building a tree yourself to a very easy level with everything you need in the bag. Various coloured canopy scatters are available for different types of trees. The only downside could be the cost of making a lot of large trees. The drying time is two days for the tree, but by building the tree before sleep and work shifts its not too bad.
There is a saying that got coined after I reviewed the "Miracle Masks", that "if Andy can anyone can", so if I can do it, admittedly rushing it, then some quite beautifully trees can be made.
Treemendus Models also make forest floor scatter, earth and raw grass.
Hyperlink to Treemendus Models website: